Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Yang Xiao set the time where the Celestial Dragon Chess Game was to be opened, and more and more people showed up at Yujing City. More exceptional people from the Eastern State showed up at Yujing House, and even more cultivators from Yujing City gathered outside. They were all waiting for the day where the Celestial Dragon Chess Game would be laid out, intending to watch the games at Chess Peak.
Liu Zong still had yet to show. Someone claimed that there were signs of him arriving at Yujing House, but no one was sure if those claims were true. The number one among all the younger generations in Xihua Sacred Mountain had indeed acted in a very unpredictable manner. Other than that, the news of the arrival of Ye Futian, the Palace Lord of the Holy Zhi Palace, the sacred ground of the Barren State, spread like wildfire, becoming the talk of the place.
Many sighed and felt pity for Barren State. The Palace Lord of a sacred ground coming for the chessboard left behind by a saint was not something that anyone would have spoken proudly about. All the other sacred grounds in the Eastern State had people of the younger generations and cultivators showing up in general. It was unheard of for a lord to show up at such events, as such lords would have been saints instead.
Only people of the Barren State would have done such a thing, as they were weak for not having a saint among them. Furthermore, it was said that while the Noble Plane Palace Lord sported exceptional talents, he had gone on to play chess in order to get his hands on the item left behind by the Chess Saint. His play style was an extremely appalling one, and that invited further pity from all.
In all of the nine states, the Barren State was one place that was seen to have ceased to exist except in name. The Orthodoxy sacred grounds would not have lasted for many years before they were doomed to be taken apart. However, it was still rather admirable for a Palace Lord of a sacred ground of the Barren State to put his pride aside and venture outside the Barren State. At the very least, the Noble Plane Palace Lord was actually working hard for the sake of the Barren State. It was a pity that while his talents were extremely formidable, his plane was still low, which would make it impossible for him to turn things around just within a few years.
At the moment, in the compound of Yujing House where Ye Futian was, he had many books and jade scrolls before him, all of which were related to the art of chess. Many of those books were actually something he had asked Jiu Gongzi to fetch for him from Chess Saint Villa, just so that he was able to read them.
The Chess Saint was the number one chess player in all of the nine states and a group of people who were incredibly versed in the art of chess gathered at Chess Saint Villa. They had diligently put all of the knowledge of the Chess Saint and some special matrixes related to the way of chess onto books or jade scrolls in order to preserve such knowledge for the generations to come and prevent them from being lost down the line.
All were materials that were offered to any cultivator who had earned the recognition of the nine students of the Chess Saint for reading. However, there were few who were willing to spend much of his time on the subject. Most of those people restricted themselves to reading and learning from incredibly renowned chess books. Ye Futian was different. He was willing to read any book there was to be read, so long as it was something related to the art of chess.
It was a habit that he had developed during his days in the Cottage. He had been reading books like a madman in the Book Cave of the Cottage. His teacher tutored him back then by having him read books and learn spells doing so. His teacher also had him learn all spells there were to be learned, regardless of difficulty, and it eventually proved that his teacher had been doing the right thing. A book’s true essence would reveal itself after being read over a hundred times, and it worked the same for training.
Ye Futian’s mind was practically filled with chess games at the moment. It was as if there was a book of chess etched into his mind and there was nothing he could do to dispel it. It was probably due to him being so interested in the subject for the past few days. It was fun learning new things, especially in Ye Futian’s case. He was able to sense the exceptional traits of the art of chess simply from reading the books, and he was then practically addicted to it.
Someone walking by at that moment dumped a book before Ye Futian, who then said, “Are you planning to read all the books in Chess Saint Villa?”
That someone was none other than Jiu Gongzi. Despite having been learning the art of chess from his teacher, he had never gone as crazy as Ye Futian. The books he had read were a small fraction compared to what Ye Futian had read.
“One’s innate weaknesses are to be compensated with hard work.” Ye Futian smiled and said, “Thanks for the hard work.”
It was fortunate that cultivators were unlike common people, whose spiritual aptitude was far behind that of cultivators. That made learning difficult for common people. People at sage levels like Ye Futian needed only to scan a book to comprehend its contents. They needed only to learn how to use their acquired knowledge.
“It’s no big deal. It’s just that I haven’t been able to go see my baby at Qingyu House for quite some time now,” Jiu Gongzi said rather dejectedly. “If I knew this would have happened, I wouldn’t have brought you up here.”
“Well, too late for regrets now,” Ye Futian smiled and said.
Jiu Gongzi shook his head and said, “Just what are you, the great Palace Lord of Barren State’s sacred ground, like as a person? Are you a horny flirt? Or are you a hardworking student?”
Ye Futian looked like a playboy more than anything else when he was in Qingyu House. Jiu Gongzi had not expected him to be so into learning.
“Me?” Ye Futian smiled and said, “Just a dashing, handsome young man whose talents are like none other.”
“Have you no shame?” Jiu Gongzi was speechless. Just what is the skin of this guy made of?
“Seriously though, time is almost up and I wonder if you have any confidence in doing this. You’re still the only guy I’ve invited to our place since I need not worry about matters, given that my brothers and sisters are there to take care of things. I need only to be a playboy and little else. I never had any hopes about you being able to achieve anything before, but I’m starting to wonder if you actually have a shot at this, seeing how diligent you are in studying and all that.”
Jiu Gongzi looked at Ye Futian and found something off with his eyes, but then he shook his head and said in a dismissive tone, “And yet, here I am, getting crazed with you as well. My Second Brother invited Liu Zong, Zhou Zichao, Han Jing, and the others. Even if your progress is developing at the speed of a lightning bolt, I don’t think you’d have any chance at breaking the Celestial Dragon Chess Game before they do, or maybe, none of us will be able to break the game.”
He shook his head and left after he finished saying all that. Just how do I come to have such wild ideas about things?
“Interesting young man indeed,” Sage Wanxiang said as he looked at Jiu Gongzi leaving.
“Interesting guy indeed. He is the last of the nine students and it’s only natural that he is all carefree and laid-back,” Ye Futian smiled and said. Wasn’t I the one who kept getting looked after back in the Cottage?
“How have you felt lately?” Sage Wanxiang asked.
“I feel as if I’m ready to simulate the games myself. But then again, I’m, of course, not all that versed in the calculations that you’re so good at, Uncle. My play style is leaning more towards judgment guided by my guts,” Ye Futian said.
“What everyone sees and feels is different even if they were to learn the exact same thing. There is no need for you to be like me.” Wanxiang said, “I broke six games armed with what little knowledge I had about chess. Having now read all those books with you, I’ve come to the point where I can say I’ve mastered the way of chess. This allows me to calculate the games in a broader yet pin-point manner, simulating all the changes to take place in my mind. If I keep at it, I’d be able to break even the eighth game, conservatively speaking. My chances of breaking all nine are rather high as well,” Wanxiang said.
“I’ll try to merge what you have taught me and what I learned myself, and I’ll try my hand at the nine games tomorrow,” Ye Futian said.
“Alright.” Sage Wanxiang nodded. “You may try a different approach, like playing in reverse, anticipating where your opponent will place their pieces, but make it so that it feels natural and see if that gels with what you have anticipated. You should then see how the game changes further. There is no need to get fixated on winning.”
“I understand.” Ye Futian nodded.
“Hearing you all talk about chess all the time, I kind of feel like I’ve become a high-level player myself.” Zhuge Mingyue and Gu Dongliu walked in their direction with a smile. All of them read books about chess every now and then, but quickly felt doing was rather exhausting. They had decided to invest their time in training instead.
Things that are all about talent like this are better left for our little brother.
“Second Sister, Third Brother,” Ye Futian called.
“I know little about chess, little brother, so I can’t help you with much. But know that all paths are connected one way or another. The way of chess is also a way at cultivation. A chess battle is like a martial arts battle. Every piece is about attack and defense. If you want to beat your opponent, you’ll naturally need to defend against your opponent’s attacks while retaliating or attack your opponent with a more explosive move. The one thing you need to do in a chess battle is master how things are in a big picture. As such, your spiritual willpower would be just as important in a chess battle,” Gu Dongliu said.
Ye Futian nodded slightly. “I’ll keep your words in mind, Third Brother.”
“Don’t wear yourself out too badly,” Gu Dongliu said softly. Ye Futian had little to no rest for the past few days. Training was not simply shutting down all the time. The art of chess was one that was very taxing on spiritual power, and as such, one should have been more alert against shutting oneself off. It would have gotten incredibly tiring when done so in a prolonged manner.
Ye Futian smiled and nodded. “Relax, brother. I like chess anyway.”
Gu Dongliu nodded without saying much.
Ye Futian went up to Chess Peak first thing in the morning the next day. The nine games were all still there, and some were even found sitting cross-legged on huge rocks. They had been looking into and challenging the games to prepare for the upcoming Celestial Dragon Chess Game.
Although they knew that they stand little chance at winning, but they were compelled to try, given how they had come all the way there. Furthermore, they got to see the best of the top-notch geniuses to be found in the Eastern State, making it quite an experience.
The old man guarding the game stepped onto the first game and said to Ye Futian, “You have already broken through six games and will start with the seventh. There is no need to repeat all of the games.”
He was very displeased playing against Ye Futian that day.
Ye Futian smiled. He looked at how the old man behaved and said, “I deem it necessary to start from the beginning. I look forward to your guidance.”
“Alright then.” The old man nodded impatiently and then waved his hand without a care. A piece coalesced from the power of rules fell onto the board with a loud thump.
Ye Futian activated Freedom Meditation, allowing him to look into the game with greater clarity as if he was on the board himself, taking charge of the chess battle. He waved his hand and a piece was placed without hesitation.
The old man kept placing pieces and Ye Futian followed suit. Soon, the old man looked at Ye Futian with a peculiar look. Ye Futian did not use that very ugly style he had been using before. However, his skills were very, very shoddy.
As the number of pieces grew on the board, a chessboard seemed to have appeared in Ye Futian’s mind. That board was a projection of what he was playing, and it went on to continuously change with future moves. That was a simulation running in his mind.
Ye Futian placed another piece as he waved his hand, yet his eyes were fixed on other spots, feeling that the old man would put his piece there. He turned his eyes at a different spot. As anticipated, the old man placed his piece with a hard thump, building up a powerful force. A precious cauldron went on to pressure Ye Futian’s spiritual will, intending to crush him.
Ye Futian lost a moment later, but he did not leave. He instead asked, “Elder, can we have another game?”
The old man frowned, but he continued nonetheless.
“Elder, can we have another one?” Ye Futian repeated again and again. The old man got rather fed up and said angrily, “Your way of chess sucks. Why bother wasting your time and mine?”
Ye Futian did not mind at all, smiling as he asked to continue. He was verifying what he had learned through actual battle.
At Chess Peak, Everyone’s eyes were on Ye Futian at the moment. That guy… really knows nothing about playing chess. He is just wasting time there. It was probably the old man with him that day who guided him and enabled him to break through six games consecutively!